At least this one is. It was a mad dash at the end. As usual, I completely underestimated the time it would take to do the last very important details on the painting and three hours turned into about six.
At one point late last night I almost threw it away (not really, because I certainly didn’t have time to re-do it, nor the fortitude to try). I was frustrated and tired and wanted it to be over with; wanted it to be better.
I realized way into the painting that I had committed the classic mistake of jumping the gun. I can’t help it. Though I love to draw, I don’t love to draw buildings. I love to draw voluptuous people and curvaceous fruit and complicated, organic vistas. To me, pears are like sexy, fat bottomed ladies. Ancient trees are like tired, arthritic old women who have stopped in the path to take a rest. But buildings just don’t do it for me. Not even temples, sorry to say.
So I rushed through the drawing and began painting. Painting is thrilling (in the sit-really-still-for-hours-and-hours kind of way). It makes me think everything will work itself out once the color starts to happen. The problems with said-move developed several days later, when I realized I had no real clarity about the true structure of the edifice. The photos I used for reference became confusing, pixelated messes when blown up. The shadows were deceiving. The towers undefined. So, I guessed, assumed and faked a bit.
OK, a lot.
In the end, and after much misery, I pulled it off. But though I am not ready to send it to a landfill anymore, I am not entirely thrilled with the outcome. This painting has reminded me of a few important things.
1. It’s never a bad idea to start early. I don’t know why I have such an inflated idea of what I can get done in a day. I should have started on this one about ten seconds after I got the reference photos. The same lesson lends itself to bills, trip-slips, phone calls, visiting teaching and grocery shopping. I have had to abandon shopping carts full of food to run to get the kids from school. Instead of a shopping cart by the wayside, this week it was housework. Better planning would have meant a smoother household and less stress for all.
2. Julie Andrews said it best; “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” I need to slow down and make sure I know what I am doing before I end up starting in the middle. I love the chase, but often start running before I have my shoes all the way on. This explains the menagerie of home-repair projects begun and not completed around here. Somehow shopping for new paint is so much more fun that using it.
3. Everyone needs a cheering section. My cheerleader is sweet Stephanie, who showed up each of the past several days and was scarcely in the door of the studio before gushing with ooo's and ahh's over the progress I had made the night before. Today she called to check on me, and later arrived with brownies as my “reward” for hard work. In daily life, my hubby and friends are so supportive of my tiny efforts. Sometimes I feel like a baby who is praised just for getting the spoon into its mouth (though the food is in my lap!).
4. It is never good to try to do important things when you are tired. It makes you devalue your efforts, become more critical, feel like giving up, and makes you generally quite crabby. Within this category I would include dealing with finances, homework, or emotional talks with your hubby. I have a rule: no tears after 9PM. It gets you nowhere.
5. Test things on something that won’t matter if it gets ruined. I lucked out that the Misket left most of what I had painted intact when I pulled it off, but it sure was a setback. Similar setbacks have included ruined clothes, hair and recipes- when I have tried to jump in and do before really making sure it was safe first.
6. Step back from time to time. If you focus in on the tiny details, you will see every flaw. Taking a break and a fresh look from a distance with a clear mind can do wonders (I also recommend this while applying make-up. It is entirely unlikely that anyone will stand 4 inches from your face to speak with you, and if they do, you may wish to get a restraining order).
Dennis, the Patio man saw the painting tonight and was very pleased. It turns out he will not be having it framed yet after all, and so my rush to this deadline was unnecessary, but I am glad it is done. Finished. Complete. If I had known I had more time, I certainly would have used it. That is not necessarily a good thing.
Now to unbury the house from a week of no-mama.